The number is unfathomable. It is astonishing and overwhelming. And the sad reality is, it is growing. The recent earthquakes have claimed over 17 thousand lives, and that count isn’t close to being done. These lives mattered. They were significant with purpose. They were someone’s loved one.
As the stench of death moves throughout the Middle East, the number of lost lives climbs. Hope fades with every missing person. Collapsed buildings now debris and rubble have made instant graves for far too many.
How many are somewhere beneath the earth, unable to move? In a moment, a split second, they’ve been molded into the ground and buried alive. An aftershock pulls them further away and any glimmer of hope has been dimmed.
Terrifying thoughts of a slow death haunt them as the ground pulls them down deeper. They wonder if they are paralyzed or if it is the ground squeezing them so tight they are immobilized.
Every breath taken is filled with dust, dirt, or whatever refuse that lies beneath. They are suffocating. They hear nothing but the beat of their heart. Their eyes open to darkness as their fate seems to solidify.
Minutes turn to hours and hours turn to days. They begin to wrestle in their thoughts, so I want to live or do I want to die. They can’t scream or even talk. And the death toll claims another.
Mothers cry for their sons and fathers weep for their daughters. The anguish is too much. Children are now orphans and families are divided. Destruction is everywhere.
We sit here thousands of miles away and our hearts bleed for what we are witnessing. Everything in life is suddenly paused as we are once again reminded that in an instant, in a moment, tragedy of great proportions can hit and everything changes.
But it’s just a pause, that is all. Life has to continue and we must move forward. We keep it on our minds, for a time. We say a few prayers, send a little money and move on.
The news will stick around for awhile, they always do. They will give us an update as long as it is relevant. But they too will leave. They will move along chasing their next story while Turkey builds gravesites to house the newly dead.
Here’s truth. We don’t want to keep this reality on the forefront of our minds. It’s too real. In a moment, the ground can shift and tomorrow may become very uncertain and permanently unsettling. You too can find yourself buried in a heavy heap of rubble with no way out. Maybe you already do.
So What’s out there? I mean, is this all there is to life? I sure hope not because it doesn’t seem like there are many happy endings.
Our hope can’t be built on an earthly foundation, it will crumble. Trust can’t be placed in anything the world has to offer. It’s all fractured. There are no promises for a full life; so clearly evidenced in Turkey.
The “more to this life” question, well, it is Jesus. He is the only foundation that can’t be shaken. He’s the only assuredness that won’t falter. He’s the hope that won’t fail. He’s the only trust that won’t betray.
He’s waiting for you.
“Christ alone, cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Savior’s love
Through the storm
He is Lord, Lord of all”